Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “The New Timer” (1995)

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I’ve always been a big fan of Jack Kerouac. There’s a lot of bad behavior in those stories, but there’s also a kind of innocent embrace of life’s possibilities. Yes, we’re often forced to make some tough choices, but that can’t diminish the romantic appeal of having no cares, of being able to hop the next freight train just to see what’s happening down the rails.

Except of course, that sort of “freedom” often comes with some mean reality.

“The New Timer” adds to the lore of great depression stories. It would be bad enough to have your life destroyed by terrible economic circumstances, but then to be haunted by the loss of a friend, first because you’ve split up and then because you learn that he’s been killed. In a final twist, our man reveals that his own god can’t quiet his mind…that justice at the end of a gun barrel is required.

I’m not a religious man, but it’s not difficult to see the tragedy of this situation. I bet Jack and Neal would have too.

Up next: Across The Border

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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